Mukilteo without Finance Director as mayor’s pick withdraws

MUKILTEO, Wash., April 1, 2022 – Scott James has withdrawn his name from consideration to be appointed as the next Finance Director for the City of Mukilteo leaving the position in limbo.

“We missed an opportunity,” Mayor Joe Marine told the Lynnwood Times. “He is one of the best Financial Directors in the area. It would have been great to have him back.”

The announcement comes after a contentious city council meeting on March 21. A source told the Lynnwood Times that James had reservations accepting the appointment after his treatment by Councilmember Steve Schmalz during that March 21 city council meeting. It was also shared that because of the Council’s decision to delay the vote until April 4th, James couldn’t take the risk of being without a job.

Marine told the Lynnwood Times that he has instructed City Administrator Steve Powers to advertise the position and to seek an interim Finance Director.

James currently is the finance director for the City of Snohomish. He served as the Finance Director for the City of Mukilteo from March 2007 to March of 2014. During Mr. James’ time at the City of Mukilteo he was instrumental in establishing the Long-Range Financial Planning concept and oversaw Finance operations that received Government Finance Officer Association’s Awards and assisted the City through the process to obtain a Standard and Poor’s AAA Bond Rating.

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

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8 thoughts on “Mukilteo without Finance Director as mayor’s pick withdraws

  • April 2, 2022 at 7:26 AM
    Permalink

    After Mukilteo he went to Edmonds for 7 years. Why did he leave, and why did he and Edmonds have a
    Non-Disclosure agreement alongside his 100k benefits settlement?

    Reply
    • April 4, 2022 at 2:22 PM
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      Your question intrigued me, Joan, so I went digging…which felt a little awkward because I have always liked Scott James – he is accessible and eager to help. I think he works hard to be a good community member and cares deeply about his municipal clients.

      First, I reviewed his City of Edmonds Separation Agreement and Release dated May 27, 2020. Under Paragraph 5 “Unemployment Benefits” I noted that “…For purposes of unemployment insurance, the City will note James was separated for general performance concerns and not misconduct…”

      https://dpa730eaqha29.cloudfront.net/myedmondsnews/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Scott_James_Separation_Agreement_-_Fully_Executed_-_5.27.2020.pdf

      I wondered what those general performance concerns could be and discovered that there had been a State Audit performed for the year 2018, with a report delivered to City of Edmonds in September 2019. I found this article:

      https://www.edmondsbeacon.com/story/2020/06/01/news/update-city-says-no-wrongdoing-in-finance-directors-firing/23255.html

      Here is an excerpt from the above-noted article:

      Audit report

      According to the State Auditor’s Office audit of City finances from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018 – issued Sept. 16, 2019, when Dave Earling was mayor – the City’s internal controls were not adequate to ensure financial reporting.

      “…The audit spelled out several deficiencies, including:

      – The City did not have adequate controls to ensure accounting pronouncements related to post-employment benefits and pensions were implemented correctly; and

      – Although the City has taken significant steps to make improvements in its controls over the capital asset accounting system, the report noted that the “current process does not ensure its accounting records align with its operational (public works and utility) records for tracking, monitoring and maintaining city-owned assets. Additionally, the City could not demonstrate that an annual inventory of capital assets was completed of all departments as required by its Capital Asset Policy.”

      In its response to the SAO report, the City acknowledged that “it did not have sufficient controls in place to ensure that our financial statements were free from error. We concur that the deficiencies identified, when taken together as a whole, represent a material weakness in our financial processes.”

      The City agreed to take corrective action to fix its accounting issues, with a deadline date of May 30, [2020] which was this past Saturday…”

      So I am wondering if Scott James was let go because the City of Edmonds was not happy with his response to these audit concerns. I do not know why Paragraph #24 (No Re-Employment. James agrees not to seek re-employment with the City of Edmonds in the future) was included and I could find nothing in the press discussing this.

      I wish Scott James the best and hope he continues to thrive in Snohomish!

      Reply
  • April 1, 2022 at 4:35 PM
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    This is so dissapointing to hear about Scott James, as he would be an excellent Finance Directory….He brings so much experience and knowledge about Mukilteo and to the role. I think the issue here is the ineptness of the Mukilteo council. They ( especially Council Woman Crawford) treated him terrible at the last council meeting. We the citizens of Mukilteo really need to scrutinize our current council members as they are incompetent, uncooperative and generally rude. We need new blood on the council. Council members who really have Mukilteo’s best interests at heart, not their own agenda. In fact, the way they treat Mayor Marine is deplorable. Council member Schmalz is rude, arrogrant and very contentious and clearly opposes the Mayor’s every decision. Schmalz’s overt behavior makes you think – he thinks he is the mayor. Most of the council member’s I believe think they are invincible, yet we the people who put you in office, can as quickly take you out of office.

    Reply
    • April 2, 2022 at 7:19 AM
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      Why did Scott James leave the first time?

      Reply
      • April 2, 2022 at 7:27 AM
        Permalink

        After Mukilteo he went to Edmonds for 7 years. Why did he leave, and why did he and Edmonds have a
        Non-Disclosure agreement alongside his 100k benefits settlement?

        Reply
        • April 2, 2022 at 2:27 PM
          Permalink

          A new Edmonds mayor was elected who wanted his Finance Director to be the new person, plain and simple. Edmonds paid him a six-month severance what is very hefty, and they did not fire him. This further indicates that he left b/c the mayor of Edmonds wanted his own guy, as Mayor Joe Marine. Is an NDA for Edmonds unusual or standard practice? We are looking into that.

          Reply
          • April 4, 2022 at 2:30 PM
            Permalink

            I don’t think that is true, Mario. Scott James was fired for “general performance concerns”. Look at the Separation Agreement.

            Under Paragraph 5 “Unemployment Benefits” I noted that “…For purposes of unemployment insurance, the City will note James was separated for general performance concerns and not misconduct…”

            https://dpa730eaqha29.cloudfront.net/myedmondsnews/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Scott_James_Separation_Agreement_-_Fully_Executed_-_5.27.2020.pdf

            I wondered what those general performance concerns could be and discovered that there had been a State Audit performed for the year 2018, with a report delivered to City of Edmonds in September 2019. I found this article:

            https://www.edmondsbeacon.com/story/2020/06/01/news/update-city-says-no-wrongdoing-in-finance-directors-firing/23255.html

            Here is an excerpt from the above-noted article:

            Audit report

            According to the State Auditor’s Office audit of City finances from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018 – issued Sept. 16, 2019, when Dave Earling was mayor – the City’s internal controls were not adequate to ensure financial reporting.

            “…The audit spelled out several deficiencies, including:

            – The City did not have adequate controls to ensure accounting pronouncements related to post-employment benefits and pensions were implemented correctly; and

            – Although the City has taken significant steps to make improvements in its controls over the capital asset accounting system, the report noted that the “current process does not ensure its accounting records align with its operational (public works and utility) records for tracking, monitoring and maintaining city-owned assets. Additionally, the City could not demonstrate that an annual inventory of capital assets was completed of all departments as required by its Capital Asset Policy.”

            In its response to the SAO report, the City acknowledged that “it did not have sufficient controls in place to ensure that our financial statements were free from error. We concur that the deficiencies identified, when taken together as a whole, represent a material weakness in our financial processes.”

            The City agreed to take corrective action to fix its accounting issues, with a deadline date of May 30, [2020] which was this past Saturday…”

            So I am wondering if Scott James was let go because the City of Edmonds was not happy with his response to these audit concerns. I do not know why Paragraph #24 (No Re-Employment. James agrees not to seek re-employment with the City of Edmonds in the future) was included and I could find nothing in the press discussing this. The agreement is explicit that he was not fired “for cause”.

            I wish Scott James the best and hope he continues to thrive in Snohomish where it sounds like he is greatly appreciated!

          • April 4, 2022 at 9:00 PM
            Permalink

            We are following up on your assumptions. Thanks for the insight!

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